Forgettable Finale at Home (Jazz 96, WOLVES 80)

A forgettable Target Center finale on a night when many minds were elsewhere, thinking of the victims of the marathon bombing.  My only time spent in Boston was for, of all things, Pat’s wedding a couple summers ago.  Thoughts are with the families of the injured and fallen.

The game tonight was not good.  Utah took control early, let up a couple of times, but mostly dominated throughout.  They won by 16.  The closing moments had Wolves fans chanting M-V-P for Chris Johnson, in obvious jest.  Al Jefferson and Mo Williams took turns dominating the low block and perimeter, respectively.  The Wolves couldn’t defend Jefferson without a full double team.  Another former TWolf, Randy Foye, looked much better than his opponents, chipping in 14 points.

Ricky Rubio shot the ball terribly.  Derrick Williams played okay (18 points on 7-13 shooting) but didn’t dominate.  He never does.  Next highest in the scoring column were Dante Cunningham (12) and J.J. Barea (11) who barely hit double figures.  For consistency’s sake, the Wolves shot 2 for 17 from downtown.  It wasn’t pretty.

Kevin Love wasn’t there.  Some in the local press were less than impressed by the no-show:

I don’t really care either way, at this point.  If memory serves, Kevin Garnett was never in the arena during the late-season games for which he was inactive.

Next up are the 58-win Spurs on Wednesday for the season finale.  The Spurs are officially locked into the 2-Seed and have nothing to play for.  Popovich might pull fans out of there seats to ensure the most possible rest for his team as it enters post-season play.  I expect a competitive game on Wednesday, given how well the Spurs play no matter who sits out.  If the Wolves win, they’ll be locked into the 9th spot for draft purposes.  If they lose and the Pistons win, there’ll be a coin toss for #8.  We’re a long ways from late June, but I suspect they won their way out of Oladipo range.  Maybe that’ll prove to be a good thing.  Who knows?

One more to go.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Forgettable Finale at Home (Jazz 96, WOLVES 80)

  1. Dave A.

    No energy tonight. Adelman expressed his disappointment during his press conference. Team was not ready to play, according to him. Hope PDW keeps up with the playoffs. Well-written columns and meaningful photos and illustrations. Thanks.

  2. Dave A.

    No hustle tonight. Wolves rebounded only 3 of their 43 missed field goals. Team shot 42.7 percent (32 of 75). Offensive rebounds: 3.
    I have next season’s starting lineup looking like this: Rubio, Budinger, Love, Williams, and Pekovic. Too slow? Let’s see what the draft provides. My sleeper is Shved, our only remaining Russian player. Sorry.

    • Dave, I’d hate to see Derrick Williams playing the 3 over Kirilenko. Andrei has a player option so it’ll be his decision.

  3. Nathan Anderson

    Apparently Wolves PR say Love was not sitting behind the bench on the advice of doctor/trainer whatever. Meanwhile, I hear Kobe is going to play next week …

    • I wonder what underlay that “medical advice”: the concern that hustling teammates might crash into the bench while chasing after loose balls and inadvertently bump into Love’s hand or knee and cause him to miss another season?

      Good grief. Seems a bit fishy, to be polite.

      This “medical advice” excuse is of approximately equal credibility as the “knuckle pushups” explanation K-Love’s camp/Wolves PR wanted us to believe at the beginning of the season.

  4. What is Kevin Love’s trade value again? Do we have a credible appraisal? Does anyone still think he’s the 8th-best player in the NBA, NUMB#RS (!) be damned?

    At the risk of raising Eric in Madison’s ire–I kid, Eric, I kid–could he fetch Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon? We give up the best player in the deal, but get two guys who would be dy-no-mite alongside Rubio. With that group’s shooting acumen, you wouldn’t need to re-sign Budinger. It would be especially strong if Pek is matched, so the Wolves would retain an inside workhorse scorer to complement its perimeter shooters and creators.

    • I think the last time Kahn got an appraisal it was Kevin Love for Golden State’s Anthony Randolph. (!)

      Nah, like with Derrick Rose, I think an extended leave of absence generally lowers the perceived value of a player. That probably means it also generally lowers the trade value of the player. In your example the same holds true (actually it holds way more true) for Eric Gordon who has only played more than 62 games 1 out of 5 seasons and has played just 50 games in the past 2 years. Now, with Gordon there is this inescapable suspicion that he’s been acting like a petulant child in NOLA ever since he was traded there against his will and again after they matched his Phoenix Suns contract. Oh yeah, he also tattled on his former Hoosier teammates for their partying habits. There’s a track record of unlikeability there. Does that help or hurt his trade value if he’s just been faking it, instead of having bad knees? (Probably helps, a little.)

      If Gordon were healthy and not a team cancer, he and Anderson would be a great combo to slot between Ricky and Pek. No doubt about that. Anderson stretches the floor as well as anyone in the league and Gordon would be the first dynamic scorer/playmaker this team has had since…(?)

  5. Dave A.

    Based on this season’s field goal percentages, who is the better shooter: Rubio or Love? Rubio is higher at .359 to Love at .352. If field goal percentages determined the starting line-up, Johnson at .635% and Gelabele at .514 would be in the top four with Pekovic (.520) and Kirilenko (.509). Roy, who took only 35 shots and make 11, shot .314%. He is the lowest, followed by the team’s best player, Love at .352%.

    • Broken-hand Love was not a good shooter. I hope we see the old version that won the three-point contest against Kevin Durant, next year.

      Gelabale and Johnson are very selective shooters — each shooting under 10 times per 36 minutes. (Gelle only shoots 7.8 per 36.) It’s nice they convert at at high rate, but I think it’s as much to do with shot selection as shooting ability. Luke Ridnour could probably make 50+ percent of field goals if he only attempted them when open.